Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will likely be fighting for his UFC job when he takes on tough young gun Ryan Bader next month at UFC 132. The “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” acknowledged this in the first of a three-part blog on ESPN.com, and wrote that while his time may be up soon, he’s not going out yet.
“I’m honest with myself, and when it is time, I will go,” wrote Ortiz. “At 36, that day when I will walk away is coming. It’s coming soon; I know that and I’ve come to accept that. But it is not yet. I know I could have all kinds of wins if I was fighting different types of opponents, but I am fighting the best opposition in the division.”
Having gone 0-4-1 since 2006, with his last victory coming against Ken Shamrock, the stats do not speak well for Ortiz’s chances against Bader. However, to his credit, he has faced only recent former champions in those bouts — aside from his most recent outing against Matt Hamill — and was only finished by Chuck Liddell. When facing Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, Ortiz was defeated by close decision or, as was the case against Evans, the fight ended in a draw.
“Yeah, it sucks that I’ve not had my hand raised since 2006,” Ortiz admitted. “I hate it. I can’t tell you how much I hate it and how bad it sucks. I’m used to winning. I’m used to dominating, walking through guys and feeling indestructible like I did when I was champion. To go this long without a win, when you are a winner who fought for everything he has in life — it’s horrible.
“But people need to look at the big details to know what’s been happening in these fights. I’ll never be someone who accepts second place — never — but, honestly, I feel I have won some of these fights… I am not getting dominated. I’m not getting knocked out like Liddell was late in his career. I am still competitive with the very best guys in the division and haven’t taken a step down in competition since the day I lost my belt in 2003.”
Following his most recent decision loss to his former The Ultimate Fighter 3 pupil Matt Hamill at UFC 121, Ortiz revealed that he was asked by the UFC to hang up his gloves.
“I think Dana respected that I had the fire to say, ‘Hell no, I don’t want to retire! I want to fight!’ and argued that I should fight on. So they’re giving me this shot against Ryan Bader, another top-5 guy who has only ever lost to [current UFC light heavyweight champion] Jon Jones.
“I don’t want to go. I’m not going to go. I am going to push the pace and win this fight July 2. My back is right against wall. I’m coming out swinging.
Ortiz will get the chance to prove his case when he meets “Darth” Bader at UFC 132 on July 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read Ortiz’s full blog by clicking here.